Manuel Ovante Arizona Death Row
Manuel Ovante was sentenced to death by the State of Arizona for a double murder. According to court documents Manuel Ovante would shoot and kill two people and injure a third. Manuel Ovante was arrested, convicted and sentenced to death.
Manuel Ovante 2021 Information
ASPC Eyman, Browning Unit
PO Box 3400
MANUEL OVANTE 251126
Florence, AZ 85132
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On June 11, 2008, Manuel Ovante, George Rojas, Nathan Duran, and Richard Fore all went to the residence of Jordan Trujillo to try and get some drugs. When none were available, they left to try and find some elsewhere. They subsequently came back to Jordan’s house again looking for drugs. At this time, Damien Vickers and Gabriel Valenzuela were there at the house as well. Once inside the residence, Ovante suddenly pulled out a gun, pointed it at Gabriel and said “who left the safety on?”” Ovante then shot Jordan twice, killing her. He then pointed the gun in the area where Damien and Gabriel were and started shooting again. Both Damien and Gabriel were shot, and Gabriel called 911 as Ovante, Rojas, and Fore were running back to the truck to flee the scene. Damien was fighting for his life and asked Duran to help him. Duran was able to get Damien to the truck and they all left. Damien was asking to be taken to a hospital but Ovante would not allow that to happen. Damien died in the truck and Ovante decided to dump Damien’s body in an alley near the area of 12th Street and Roosevelt. Gabriel survived from his gun shot injuries. Police arrested Rojas, Duran, and Fore a few days later. Ovante was arrested about a month later. In the initial part of the trial, Ovante pled guilty to the murders of Jordan and Damien, and also to the aggravated assault of Gabriel Valenzuela. Ovante then stipulated to the aggravating facts and the jury ultimately sentenced him to death.
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On June 11, 2008, Ovante and three friends drove to Jordan Trujillo’s house, hoping she would give them methamphetamine. Trujillo refused, but Ovante returned repeatedly that day attempting to obtain drugs. When Ovante and his friends entered Trujillo’s home the last time, they encountered Trujillo, who was asleep on a living room couch, Damien Vickers, and Gabriel Valenzuela. Without expressing anger or distress, Ovante suddenly pulled out a gun.
¶ 3 Ovante pointed the gun at Valenzuela and yelled “[W]ho left the safety on?” Ovante released the safety, pointed the gun again at Valenzuela, and told him not to move. He then shot the sleeping Trujillo twice in the head and began shooting at Valenzuela and Vickers, wounding both of them. Trujillo appeared to die almost instantly, but Vickers begged for help and Valenzuela called the police.
¶ 4 After the shooting, Ovante and two of his friends got into a truck and tried to convince the third friend, Nathan Duran, to leave Vickers behind. Duran instead dragged Vickers into the back of the truck. Vickers was bleeding from his bullet wounds, holding onto Duran, and asking to be taken to a hospital. Ovante refused to do so. After Vickers died in the truck, Ovante decided to abandon his body in an alley. Valenzuela, who remained in the apartment, survived the attack.
¶ 5 The State charged Ovante with two counts of first degree murder and one count of aggravated assault. The State sought the death penalty, alleging as aggravating circumstances that Ovante had been previously convicted of a serious offense (the aggravated assault of Valenzuela), see A.R.S. § 13–751(F)(2) (2008), and had been convicted of one or more other homicides committed during the commission of the offense, see id. § 13–751(F)(8). Ovante pleaded guilty to all charges and admitted both aggravating circumstances.
¶ 6 At the conclusion of the penalty phase, the jury determined Ovante should be sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Trujillo and sentenced to death for Vickers’ murder. Accordingly, the trial court entered sentences of life with a possibility of parole after twenty-five years for Trujillo’s murder, death for Vickers’ murder, and a mitigated term of six years in prison for the aggravated assault on Valenzuela.
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